Global lenders have recently come under fire for their lack of anti-money laundering efforts, with the news that more than $2 trillion has been transferred in suspected funds within the last two decades.
Money laundering is the act of hiding money that has been obtained illegally and passing it through various and often complex system of bank accounts and transactions, so that it become ‘clean’.
Often laundered money originates from criminal activity, allowing criminals to fund and further their operations. It is therefore no surprise that those with unexplained wealth are being targeted by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations.
News came today of Mansoor Mahmood Hussain, a businessman from Leeds who has surrendered an estimated £10 million of property, thought to be part of a money laundering operation for criminals.
The move has been hailed as a ‘milestone’ in the fight against money laundering by the NCA and reminds those in all regulated sectors the importance of investigating where clients have obtained their wealth.
High Court papers revealed that the NCA believed the money for properties, purchased by Mr Hussain, had come from criminal associates as there was no legitimate source for his wealth, as well as Mr Hussain having paid virtually no income tax for a number of years, with his 77 companies being dormant.
As solicitors we are under a duty to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations, with risk assessments in place at each firm to ensure clients do not take advantage of our services, and that we are not a party to any money laundering efforts.
Solicitors and firms who are found to have failed in these obligations can be prosecuted and face serious criminal penalties, even if they had no knowledge of the money laundering taking place.
So please bear with us if we ask for further information, we understand it can be frustrating and matters may be slowed. We do this not only to show that we are acting professionally, ensuring we keep your business transactions clean, we are protecting the reputation of our firm, and helping protecting the nation from criminal.
You could call us heroes, but we prefer to be known as Tigers!